Michael Jones

Education       Background       Research       Publications




Co-Director, Peter A Larkin Professor of Quantitative Fisheries (Emeritus)
Office Location: 13D Natural Resources Building
Phone: 517-353-0647
E-mail: jonesm30@msu.edu
Area of Expertise/Interest: Fish population dynamics and modeling; adaptive management; sea lamprey management



  • Ph.D. - Zoology, University of British Columbia, 1986
  • B.S. - Zoology, University of British Columbia, 1977



I am a fisheries biologist with B.Sc. (1977) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. I am a Canadian citizen and grew up in Vancouver, which I still consider my home even though I have not lived there for more than twenty-five years. I have worked in British Columbia, Ontario, and Michigan. In 2006 I enjoyed a four-month return visit to Vancouver for part of my sabbatical.

I worked as an environmental consultant and a government research scientist prior to joining the faculty at MSU. From 1980 to 1988 I worked as a systems ecologist with ESSA Technologies Ltd. ESSA is an innovative, quantitatively-oriented consulting firm that was originally created to provide expertise in modeling and adaptive management to government and corporate clients with environmental concerns. During my eight years with ESSA I participated in a variety of projects in resource management and environmental assessment, including fishery management, acid rain effects on fisheries, and aquatic effects of power plant operation.

In 1988 I became a research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, where I led the Great Lakes Salmonid Unit. In the eight years I worked with the Salmonid Unit we conducted research on various aspects of salmonine ecology in the Great Lakes including:

  • examining the feasibility of Atlantic salmon restoration in Lake Ontario;
  • developing methods and models to understand riverine salmonine habitat-population interactions
  • building models to investigate the sustainability of Great Lakes salmonine stocking practices; and
  • exploring the relationship between watershed land-use patterns and the quality of riverine habitats.

In 1997 I returned to academia, joining an active and growing Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. While at MSU my research has focused on Great Lakes fishery management and particularly sea lamprey control and applications of decision analysis to problems such as salmon stocking and percid harvest strategies. My students and post-docs have worked on field and modeling projects. From 2008 to 2014 I served as Chairperson of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. From  2014-2019 I served as Assistant Director for MSU AgBioResearch. In August 2018 I retired from my full-time position and since then have held a half-time appointment, jointly funded by MSU and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

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My primary research interests center around understanding fish population dynamics and applying quantitative tools such as simulation modeling and decision analysis to practical fishery management problems. My research has a strong applied flavor, and frequently involves working closely with fishery management agencies. I am especially interested in the challenge of determining critical uncertainties for fishery management, and the related question of assigning an appropriate value to reducing uncertainty. I like my research program, and thus my students' projects, to comprise a mixture of empirical and theoretical work: field and experimental studies; modeling and analysis.

Some of the problems that my research group and I have tackled include:

  • sea lamprey control in the St. Marys River
  • evaluation and refinement of larval assessment methods for sea lamprey control
  • recruitment dynamics of sea lampreys and their implications for alternative control
  • energy dynamics of Great Lakes Chinook salmon
  • assessment of Lake Michigan salmonine stocking policies using decision analysis
  • development of efficient assessment methods for determining fish species composition of Great Lakes streams
  • habitat supply-population dynamics models for Lake Erie walleye, Lake Superior lake trout, and Lake Superior cisco
  • evaluation of harvest policies for Lake Erie walleye and Lake Michigan yellow perch using decision analysis
  • factors influencing differences in natural mortality rates among lake whitefish stocks
  • applying "Management Strategy Evaluation" to Pacific salmon management in western Alaska
  • developing an adaptive management strategy for management of double-crested cormorants in Michigan

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Since 2010

  • Staton, B.A., M.J. Catalano, B.M. Connors, L.G. Coggins, M.L. Jones, C.J. Walters, S.J. Fleischman, and D.Gwinn. 2020. Evaluation of methods for spawner-recruit analysis in mixed-stock Pacific salmon fisheries. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. https://doi-org.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/10.1139/cjfas-2019-0281
  • Connors, B.M., B.A. Staton, L.G. Coggins, C.J. Walters, M.L. Jones, D. Gwinn, M.J. Catalano, and S.J. Fleischman. 2020. Incorporating harvest-population diversity trade-offs into salmon management in large river basins: a case study of Kuskokwim River Chinook. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. https://doi-org.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/10.1139/cjfas-2019-0282
  • Lin, H.Y., K.F. Robinson, M.L. Jones, and L. Walter. 2019. Using structured decision making to overcome scale mismatch challenges in barrier removal for watershed restoration. Fisheries 44:545-550.
  • Maguffee, A.C., Reilly, R., Clark, R., and Jones, M.L. 2019. Quantifying differences in otolith chemistry of Chinook Salmon in Lake Michigan to determine natal origins. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 76:2035-2044.
  • Smith, K.R., B.M. Roth, M.L. Jones, D.B. Hayes, S.J. Herbst, N. Popoff. 2019.  Changes in the distribution of Michigan crayfishes and the influence of invasive rusty crayfish (Faxonius rusticus) on native crayfish substrate associations. Biological Invasions 21:637-656
  • Thresher, R.E., Jones, M.L. and Drake, A.R. 2019. Evaluating active genetic options for the control of sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) in the upper Laurentian Great Lakes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 76:1186-1202.
  • Thresher, R.E., Jones, M. and Drake, D.A.R. 2019. Stakeholder attitudes towards to the use of recombinant technology to manage the impact of an invasive species: Sea Lamprey in the North American Great Lakes. Biological Invasions. 21:575–586
  • Smith, K., Roth, B.M., Herbst, S.J., Thoma, R.F., Popoff, N., Hayes, D.B., and Jones, M.L. 2018. Assessment of invasion risks for red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) in Michigan, USA. Management of Biological Invasions 9:405-415
  • Jensen, A.J. and M.L. Jones. 2018. Forecasting the response of Great Lakes sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) to barrier removals. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 75:1415-1426.
  • Dunlop, E.S. and 18 co-authors. 2018. Rapid evolution meets invasive species control: the potential for pesticide resistance in sea lamprey. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 75:152-168.
  • Stevens, B.S., J.R. Bence, W.F. Porter, and M.L. Jones. 2017. Identifying target reference points for harvesting assessment-limited wildlife populations: a case study. Ecological Applications 27:1916-1931.
  • Honeyfield, D.C., A.K. Peters, and M.L. Jones. 2016. Thiamine and lipid utilization in fasting Chinook salmon. North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission Bulletin 6:13-19.
  • Johnson, N.S., W.D. Swink, H.A. Dawson, and M.L. Jones. 2016. Effects of coded-wire-tagging on stream-dwelling Sea Lamprey larvae. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36:1059-1067.
  • Dawson, H.A., M.L. Jones, B.J. Irwin, N.S. Johnson, C.M. Wagner, M. Szymanski. Accepted. Management strategy evaluation of a new control tactic to manage an invasive fish. Natural Resource Modeling 29:448-469.
  • Jones, M.L., M.J. Catalano, L.K. Peterson, and A.M. Berger. 2016. Stakeholder-centered development of a harvest control rule for Lake Erie walleye Sander vitreus. pp. 163-183 in “Management Science in Fisheries”, C.T.T. Edwards and D.J. Dankel, editors. Routledge, Oxford and New York.
  • Holbrook, C.M., R.J. Bergstedt, J. Barber, G.A. Bravener, M.L. Jones, and C.C. Krueger. 2016. Evaluating harvest-based control of invasive fish with telemetry: performance of sea lamprey traps in the Great Lakes. Ecological Applications 26:1595-1609.
  • Robinson, J.M., M.J. Wilberg, J.V. Adams, and M.L. Jones. 2016. Tradeoff between assessment and control of aquatic invasive species: a case study of sea lamprey management in the St. Marys River. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36:11-20.
  • Fielder, D.G., M.L. Jones, and J.R. Bence. 2016. Analysis of management options and value of information for the Saginaw Bay stock of walleyes based on stochastic simulation. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36:407-420.
  • Tsehaye, I., M.L. Jones, B.J. Irwin, D.G. Fielder, J.E. Breck, and D.R. Luukkonen. 2015. A predictive model to inform adaptive management of double-crested cormorants and fisheries in Michigan. Natural Resource Modeling 28:348-376.
  • Jones, M.L., T.O. Brenden, and B.J. Irwin. 2015. Re-examination of sea lamprey control policies for the St. Marys River: completion of an adaptive management cycle. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72:1538-1551.
  • Potts, D.D., H.A. Dawson, and M.L. Jones. 2015. Validation of a relationship between statolith size and age of larval Great Lakes sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus). Environmental Biology of Fishes 98:1859-1869.
  • Myers, J.T., D.L. Yule, M.L. Jones, T.D. Ahrenstorff, T.R. Hrabik, R.M. Claramunt, M.P. Ebener, and E.K. Berglund. 2015. Spatial synchrony in cisco recruitment. Fisheries Research 165:11-21.
  • Myers, J.T., D.L. Yule, M.J. Jones, H.R. Quinlan, and E.K. Berglund. 2014. Foraging and predation risk for larval cisco (Coregonus artedi) in Lake Superior: a modelling synthesis of empirical survey data. Ecological Modelling 294:71-83.
  • Robinson, J.M., M.J. Wilberg, J.V. Adams, and M.L. Jones. 2014. Comparing methods for estimating larval sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) density in the St. Marys River for the purposes of control. Journal of Great Lakes Research 40:739-747.
  • Catalano, M.J. and M.L. Jones. 2014. The influence of in-season risk tolerance and assessment methods on performance of the Yukon River fall chum salmon fishery. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 34:1227-1241.
  • Holbrook, C.M., N.S. Johnson, J.P. Steibel, M.B. Twohey, T.B. Binder, C.C. Krueger, and M.L. Jones. 2014. Estimating reach-specific fish movement probabilities in rivers with a Bayesian state-space model: application to sea lamprey passage and capture at dams. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71:1713-1729.
  • Johnson, N.S., W.D. Swink, T.O. Brenden, J.W. Slade, T.B. Steeves, M.F. Fodale, and M.L. Jones. 2014. Survival and metamorphosis of low-density populations of larval sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) in streams following lampricide treatment. Journal of Great Lakes Research 40:155-163.
  • Tsehaye, I.W., M.L. Jones, T.O Brenden, J.R. Bence, C.P. Madenjian, and D.M. Warner. 2014. Assessing the balance between predatory consumption and prey dynamics in the Lake Michigan pelagic fish community. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71:1-18.
  • Langseth, B.J., M.L. Jones, and S.C. Riley. 2014. The effect of adjusting model inputs to achieve mass balance on time-dynamic simulations in a food-web model of Lake Huron. Ecological Modeling 273:44-54.
  • Tsehaye, I., M.L. Jones, T.O. Brenden, J.R. Bence, and R.M. Claramunt. 2014. Changes in the salmonine community of Lake Michigan and their implications for predator-prey balance. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 143:420-437.
  • Jones, M.L. and G.J.A. Hansen. 2014. Making adaptive management work: lessons from the past and opportunities for the future. In Future of Fisheries: Perspectives for Emerging Professionals. American Fisheries Society Press.
  • Catalano, M.J., and M.L. Jones. 2014. A simulation-based evaluation of in-season management tactics for anadromous fisheries: accounting for risk in the Yukon River fall chum salmon fishery. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 34:122-1241.
  • Tsehaye, I., M.L. Jones, J.R. Bence, T.O. Brenden, C.P. Madenjian, and D.M. Warner. 2014. A multispecies statistical age-structured model to assess prey-predator balance in the Lake Michigan pelagic fish community. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71:627-644.
  • Robinson, J.M., M.J. Wilberg, J.V. Adams, and M.L. Jones. 2013.  A spatial age-structured model for describing sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) population dynamics. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 70:1709-1722.
  • McLaughlin, R.L., E.R.B. Smyth, T. Castro-Santos, M.L. Jones, M.A. Koops, T.C. Pratt, and L. Velez-Espino. 2013. Unintended consequences and trade-offs of fish passage.  Fish and Fisheries 14:580-604.
  • Berger, A.M, M.L. Jones, and Y. Zhao. 2012. Improving fishery-independent indices of abundance for a migratory walleye population. Journal of Great Lakes Research 38:755-765.
  • Irwin, B. J., W. Liu, J. R. Bence, and M. L. Jones. 2012. Defining economic injury levels for sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes Basin. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 32:760-771.
  • Berger, A.M., M.L. Jones, Y. Zhao, and J.R. Bence. 2012. Accounting for spatial population structure at scales relevant to life history improves stock assessment: the case for Lake Erie walleye Sander vitreus. Fisheries Research 115-116:44-59.
  • Hansen, G.J.A, N.C. Ban, M.L. Jones, L. Kaufman, H. Panes, M. Yasue, A.C.J. Vincent. 2011. Hindsight in marine protected area designation and planning: a comparison of ecological representation arising from opportunistic and systematic approaches. Biological Conservation 144:1866-1875.
  • Irwin, B.J., M.J., Wilberg, M.L. Jones, and J.R. Bence. 2011. Applying structured decision making to recreational fisheries management. Fisheries 36(3):113-122.
  • Velez-Espino, L.A., R.L. McLaughlin, M.L. Jones, and T.C. Pratt. 2011. Demographic analysis of trade-offs with deliberate fragmentation of streams: Control of invasive species versus protection of native species. Biological Conservation 144:1068-1080.
  • Faisal, M., T.P. Loch, T.O. Brenden, A.A. Easa, M.P. Ebener, G.M. Wright, and M.L. Jones. 2010. Assessment of Renibacterium salmoninarum infection in four lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) stocks from northern lakes Huron and Michigan. Journal of Great Lakes Research 36:29-37.
  • Faisal, M., W. Fayed, T.O. Brenden, A. Noor, M.P. Ebener, G.M. Wright, and M.L. Jones. 2010. Widespread infection of lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis with the swimbladder nematode Cystidicola farionis in northern lakes Michigan and Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research 36(Suppl. 1):18-28.
  • Ebener, M.P., T.O. Brenden, G.M. Wright, M.L. Jones, and M. Faisal. 2010. Spatial and temporal distributions of lake whitefish spawning stocks in northern lakes Michigan and Huron, 2003-2008. Journal of Great Lakes Research 36(Suppl. 1):38-51.
  • Brenden, T.O., M.P. Ebener, T.M. Sutton, M.L. Jones, M.T. Arts, M. Faisal, T.B. Johnson, M.A. Koops, and G.M. Wright. 2010. Assessing the health of lake whitefish populations in the Laurentian Great Lakes: lessons learned and research recommendations. Journal of Great Lakes Research 36(Suppl. 1):135-139.
  • Brenden, T.O., M.L. Jones, and M.P. Ebener. 2010. Sensitivity of tag recovery mortality estimates to tag shedding, handling mortality, and reporting rate inaccuracies. Journal of Great Lakes Research 36(Suppl. 1):102-111.

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